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Shotgun Start: Previewing the Memorial Tournament

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Muirfield Village Golf Club / Getty Images

It's tournament time! Some of the best golfers in the world head to Dublin, Ohio this week for Jack Nicklaus' tournament — the Memorial. Even though it's not considered a major championship, the field certainly gives it a fifth major feel. Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared.

The course: Home to the Memorial Tournament since 1976, Muifield Village Golf Club is one of those courses on the schedule that players flock to each year. That may have something to do with Jack Nicklaus being the host for the week, but the layout's no slouch with its rolling topography and tree-lined fairways. Much like Augusta National, the only way to fully comprehend the severe elevation changes is to walk it yourself. With significant drops from the tee box to the fairway, and also from the fairway back to the green, you get the sense early on that you need to be deadly accurate to score at Muirfield. Water comes into play on nine of the holes, and that includes water on not only on the tee shot, but around the green as well. At 7,265 yards, the par 72 layout doesn't require you to be long off the tee. Steve Stricker, Carl Pettersson, Justin Rose, Kenny Perry and K.J. Choi are some of the tournament's most recent winners. Needless to say, none of them are considered bombers on the PGA Tour; but all of them are consistent from tee to green. The course ranked as the 19th-most difficult on tour in 2011 and 2010, but in the two years prior it was as high as fifth. If, as Nicklaus confirmed during Wednesday's press conference, the greens are firm and fast this year, we could see higher scores this year.

[PGA Tour showdown: Steve Stricker vs. Luke Donald]

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday; and on CBS from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: With all due respect to the Players Championship, the Memorial field certainly has a fifth major feel to it. With the exception of Lee Westwood (No. 3 in the OWGR), Matt Kuchar (5) and Jason Dufner (8), the rest of the top-10 is playing this week. That includes Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson (who's making his first start in more than a month). Unless you having something pressing going on this weekend (like your own wedding), you should probably carve out some time on the couch for the Memorial.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Memorial's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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